“I’ve recently had a few patches of hair loss on my beard, only for them to grow back white or silver. Should I be worried?”

Mike, via contact form.

In a word, Mike: no. Beard hair loss (or alopecia barbae, if we’re being technical) is more common than you’d think, and it can be down to a number of things. A granddad patch on your face doesn’t mean your insides are following suit, so take a breath.

First, let’s start with the causes. If the areas of hair loss aren’t red, scaly or sore, there’s little reason to visit your GP. A 28 Days Later viral outbreak, this is not. If you’re suffering from stress or going through a particularly emotional period, this can trigger it. Or, as with a lot of bodily blemishes, it can be hereditary. If your old man suffers from a touch of the Gandalf, you probably will too.

If totally zen and your dad is hirsutely blessed, a whiteout can be down to diet. Low iron and B12 stores cause the body to attack hair follicles, and in turn, suppress growth and force a restart – hence the newborn white or silver strands.

There’s also the chance it’s an autoimmune condition, but don’t panic. It’s incredibly rare, and a doctor can rule this out quickly and painlessly.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel (or beard), though. In many cases, this type of hair loss and discoloration is temporary, lasting from six to nine months. Eventually, the beard will flourish and darken just like before. Patience is a virtue on this one.

That said, if a lack of crop rotation is an ongoing issue, there are plenty of ways to fix a patchy beard.

Hang in there, Mike – there’s a phoenix waiting to rise from the ‘taches.